Date of Award

Spring 2-18-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Jill Patterson, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jan Furman, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Margaret Hayes, Ed.D.


care, teacher-student connections, special education students, organizational factors


Through the theoretical lens of care, this qualitative case study explored special education teachers’ perceptions of how they exhibit care and key factors that support or threaten their enactment of care. Interview and lesson plan data sources were collected from six middle and high school special education teachers in a high performing New Jersey district and analyzed using a priori and descriptive coding strategies for thematic generation. Key findings were teachers perceived academic success as multifaceted, teachers perceived care as interactive, relational, and intentional. They identified organizational factors such as professional learning communities (PLCs) and leadership as supports for care and structural factors, including content-focused curricula and disconnect between general and special education teachers, as barriers to exhibiting care. Findings have implications for policy and practice discussions related to alternative assessments and their relation to teacher enactment of care. This study builds upon prior literature surrounding how teachers, in general, exhibit care from the lens of special education teachers.